That’s just dumb

The normally sensible Nick Cater is stoking up anti-university sentiment in the Australian this morning:

Universities would no doubt deny that overseas students have been taking places from Australians at our best universities, but that is what the numbers suggest.

The number of Australian students commencing courses at Group of Eight universities fell by more than 2000 between 2009 and 2018. The number of overseas students doubled to 60,000.

Australian student numbers are down 2000 and that proves foreign students are crowding out local students?

Yet we are also told:

The growth in domestic students was bound to hit its natural limit, …

Consistency? Coherence? Is this an example of the excellent high-quality education system that existed before international students came to our shores?

Teaching staff are obliged to divert their attention to issues of basic literacy.

Nick, mate, everyone’s English and maths is bad these days. Everyone.

Now while I agree with Nick on the need for profound reform* within the university system, the whole notion that we can return to a small locally funded elitist university system is the equivalent idea that we can run an economy on fairy dust and unicorn farts.

So ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you prepared to pay more in the form of income tax to educate an elite?
  • Do you think that bureaucrats should decide who is worthy enough to go to university?

If you answered “No” to even one of those questions then you have give away your anti-foreign bias, or bigotry as we used to call it, and accept that foreign students, or paying customers as they are called in the private sector, are going to play an important part in the Australian education system.

Reform of the Australian university system will require careful thought and analysis, not the-University-of-Sydney-has-driven-me-wild thought.

*My RMIT colleagues and I are working on a project that looks at the impact of the digital revolution, given COVID-19, on the university sector. What we have in mind is far more radical than conservatives plotting revenge on pesky university administrators who don’t kow-tow to the government.

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86 Responses to That’s just dumb

  1. stackja

    Why do universities exist today? Gender studies?

  2. Roger

    So ask yourself these questions:

    Are you prepared to pay more in the form of income tax to educate an elite?
    Do you think that bureaucrats should decide who is worthy enough to go to university?

    Or we could just have fewer and better universities.

  3. Terry

    “Universities” have not been Universities for a long time now.

  4. Or we could just have fewer and better universities.

    My thoughts exactly, less universities, less need for taxpayer funding. And maybe universities would then begin to run courses that matter, rather than courses where students can graduate to exclusive McDonalds customer service jobs or more public servants.

  5. incoherent rambler

    Are you prepared to pay more in the form of income tax to educate an elite?

    If that elite is the academically exceptional, then yes.

    As a parent of a genius, I can tell you that the education system does not make life easy for the best minds in our society.

    Count the number of dollars generated by Feynman or Einstein.

    Better question is:
    Can we afford to keep throwing our best minds in the trash?

    Clever people are rare, make the most of them when they come along.

  6. Neil

    There are 600,000 foreign students in Australia. For some of those 600,000, University education in Australia is a rort to get permanent residency. They fly in on a student visa then try and find a way to stay.. Some jobs markets are just getting swamped by flyins. Well you say that is good for Australia getting all these highly qualified people. But research is contract work so they work for half wages or even less. How can local students compete with people who are willing to work for half wages?

  7. Mak Siccar

    One of my long-standing gripes was the staggering amount of the overheads within the universities in which I worked; that is, how much of the income was creamed off at the top before the remainder dribbled down to those of us at the coal face. Also, the number of academic administrators and non-academic administrators was totally disproportionate and it seemed they were forever changing things – reporting requirements, organisational structures, course requirements etc etc – merely to be seen to be doing something. Often, these people would leave after a few years with more ‘accomplishments’ on their CV and leave those left behind to deal with the mess and mayhem created by their changes.

  8. Iampeter

    Universities would no doubt deny that overseas students have been taking places from Australians at our best universities, but that is what the numbers suggest.

    Isn’t it just a case of overseas students actually paying for their places, unlike locals?

    In any case, I think there’s a lot of hangup on there actually needing to be universities in their current form. In reality, today’s education is archaic and backwards and hasn’t had any innovation in centuries, because it’s been government regulated for so long.

  9. steve

    So what positives are there in lowering the numbers in universities?

    1 Less lefties in the population
    2 More concern from professors about teaching and less about activism
    3 More tradies in the populace
    4 Less unemployed graduates in the populace
    5 Less bullshit courses in the Humanities

    Really a win for society

  10. Behind Enemy Lines

    Even formerly- and potentially useful organisations can become such a burden on society that they need to be shuttered and replaced. The universities probably passed that mark in the late ’80s. It isn’t Nick Cater who is responsible for anti-university sentiment — it’s the universities themselves. Even in #2020 I’m amazed and disgusted that so much public funding (taken under threat of force from unwilling taxpayers) can be spent in service of wrecking traditional Australian society and subjugating it to a fresh perversion of Maoism. The universities have become so bad that the excellent parts are now tarred with the same brush that the bad parts have been wildly slopping around with for decades. These institutions are beyond reform. Figuratively speaking: burn it all down and start over from ground zero.

  11. areff

    everyone’s English and maths is bad these days. Everyone.

    While that’s true, your garden-variety semi-literates don’t have to be told their essays need to be written across the page (preferably from the left), not in vertical columns

  12. Given that our esteemed Doom Lord works at a university, perhaps some bias has crept in when it comes to critiquing the article.

  13. Infidel Tiger King

    All universities should be cancelled..

  14. rickw

    The real meat of the University issue is the courses that are on offer which are ultimately paid for by all of us.

    There is a vast swath of courses that produce not only people for which there is no actual real world job, but on top of that, these people are so divorced from reality that they spend the rest of their lives harassing and wrecking the lives of productive members of society.

    Every single really fucked government decision since 1970 has had a wanker arts graduate hanging off it.

  15. Sinclair Davidson

    Given that our esteemed Doom Lord works at a university, perhaps some bias has crept in when it comes to critiquing the article.

    This is a form of identity politics – the notion that individuals are incapable of abstract and objective thought.

    your garden-variety semi-literates don’t have to be told their essays need to be written across the page (preferably from the left), not in vertical columns

    We now have things called ‘computers’ that have typing packages – think of those new-fangled Gutenberg printing presses, well just like that – that allow the students to write and print on the page.

    I would have some sympathy for this argument – but I have had to explain to Australian students that sentences begin with capital letters and finish with fullstops and there are things called paragraphs. Not to mention that even if marks are not allocated to having a bibliography that essays require a bibliography.

  16. Bruce of Newcastle

    Somebody has to pay for universities’ radical socialism. As the ordinary people get fed up and go into trades (getting $180/hr is yummy!) the unis have to pad out their kolkhozes with Chinese communist escapees. The irony would be fun, if it wasn’t so horrible.

  17. Ellie

    At my work we use to write our reports as stories – elaborating and embellishing for effect. In the last two years we have been dumbed down, in line with the educational system. Dot point form now. We are all just numbers. Bums on seats.

  18. Boambee John

    In any case, I think there’s a lot of hangup on there actually needing to be universities in their current form. In reality, today’s education is archaic and backwards and hasn’t had any innovation in centuries, because it’s been government regulated for so long.

    I rise from the fainting couch, pale and trembling, to admit that I endorse completely this statement by Iampeter!

  19. NoFixedAddress

    *My RMIT colleagues and I are working on a project that looks at the impact of the digital revolution, given COVID-19, on the university sector. What we have in mind is far more radical than conservatives plotting revenge on pesky university administrators who don’t kow-tow to the government.

    Come on Sinclair!

    Give us a hint.

    During the 1970’s I did night school at RMIT and topped that up with one of the very few then Australian Colleges offering Distance Education courses.

    Australia should be leading the World in Distance Education with the plethora of digital offerings available nowadays.

    LOL… Maybe Chairman Dan can get some Huawei equipment installed to facilitate.

  20. Sinclair Davidson

    Come on Sinclair!

    Give us a hint.

    First mover disadvantages have been overcome by responses to the COVID pandemic.

  21. This is a form of identity politics – the notion that individuals are incapable of abstract and objective thought.

    I didn’t read anything abstract in your post. You were merely trying to debunk what Nick Cater wrote. However, it would appear that the majority of posters disagree with your ‘abstract’ point of view.

  22. In the late 1970’s my father believed university was a money making machine, and he was right; you needed that bit of paper to get a higher wage. And the trade union party forced those they pretended to represent to pay for your tuition. The socialism was there then too, but not so many foreign students. If anything, the overt socialism turned you off forever.

    But I blame industry for all of this, they wanted taxpayers to pay for teaching the people they needed, rather than do it themselves. My industry is fighting back with a few traineeships providing an alternative path with on-the-job training.

  23. Roger W

    I went to uni in the late ’60s. Maybe 5% of the population went to uni then?
    So, it was an elite, and the courses were all academic.
    Now, it is 50% of the relevant population group, mainly studying Mickey Mouse courses that do not help society progress at all. Increasing numbers of young males are realizing that if they want a reasonable career, uni is a waste of 3 productive years.
    So maybe Nick has a point, but doesn’t take it far enough?

  24. thefrollickingmole

    and accept that foreign students, or paying customers as they are called in the private sector, are going to play an important part in the Australian education system.

    This would be a great argument if the main reason for choosing an Australian uni wasnt either substandard entry requirements (as you mention in your anecdote about crap literacy/english) or seen as the price of a visa.

    I would have some sympathy for this argument – but I have had to explain to Australian students that sentences begin with capital letters and finish with fullstops and there are things called paragraphs.

    Ok, why are they in university?
    Surely this has some pretty large impacts on the quality, clarity and output to a near crippling degree?

  25. Just Google ‘Mike Rowe college’ and find out some great commentary about university (college).

  26. Neil

    So maybe Nick has a point, but doesn’t take it far enough?

    Universities also do research. In fact most scientific research is done by Universities in Australia. Other Western Countries have large corporations that do research, something we do not have in Australia. So a new drug may be developed by Roche in Switzerland but they just sell the drug here. But lots of Research is done by private companies in Europe.

    Fact is 99% of research goes nowhere. They are just interesting jobs funded by the taxpayer in Australia

  27. Universities also do research. In fact most scientific research is done by Universities in Australia.

    If you can call endless studies on climate change, research. And not forgetting the ever popular social justice and interpretive dance research.

  28. kae

    I’m disappointed in your lack of faith in fairy dust and unicorn farts.

  29. Bruce of Newcastle

    I blame industry for all of this, they wanted taxpayers to pay for teaching the people they needed, rather than do it themselves.

    Nowadays they like to bring them in from overseas.
    Which is fun given what it implies about local graduates.
    Maybe we can export gender studies PhDs to other countries who need more baristas.

  30. bollux

    I bet my left nut that a huge proportion of those misguided numpties protesting about their hurt feelings are at University studying bullshit.

  31. Neil

    If you can call endless studies on climate change, research. And not forgetting the ever popular social justice and interpretive dance research.

    Like i said 99% of research is useless and goes nowhere. They are just interesting jobs funded by the taxpayer.

    Now if researchers could have worked out a way to keep our manufacturing industry in Australia eg like our car industry, the research money would have been well spent.

    Fact is most researchers just care about themselves and continually ask for more money so they can keep their interesting jobs

  32. Mater

    Sinc,
    A genuine question, because I am genuinely interested in the answer.
    Our kids gain a place in Uni based on a score from high school, one which is determined based on available places. Some miss out on their preferred course, because their score wasn’t quite high enough when rated against other Australia students wishing to do the same course.

    Presumably some places in said courses go to foreign students. How do we know that their score, from their home country, is appropriate and/or equivalent? Are they standardised across the globe?

    Might it not be possible that some of our kids are being knocked back from some courses to make way for foreign students of less academic capability? Were the foreign students forced to achieve 99 in English in Year 12 to get into medicine, for example?

    As I said, a serious question.

  33. thefrollickingmole

    So universities have an economic benefit.

    Have we quantified the costs side?
    Because grievance studies and parasite courses not to mention flooding the Public service with educated idiots comes at a cost.

    2 examples
    https://www.une.edu.au/study/study-options/study-areas/peace-political-and-international-studies/peace-studies

    https://staffportal.curtin.edu.au/staff/profile/view/M.Metta/
    Books (Research)
    Metta, M. 2010. “Writing Against, Alongside and Beyond Memory: Lifewriting as Reflexive, Postructuralist Feminist Research Practice.” Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.
    Metta, M. 2016. “Embodying Feminist Mothering: Narratives of Resistance through Patriarchal Terrorism from both Mother and Child’s Perspectives.” In Feminist Parenting Comerford, L., H. Jackson, and K. Kosior., 144-167 Bradford, Ontario: Demeter Press.
    Metta, M. 2017. “Embodying Métissage: Entangling Memory, Identity and Difference in Feminist Intercultural Storymaking.” Journal of Intercultural Studies 38 (1): 70-87.
    Metta, M. 2018. “Metis-Body-Stage: Autoethnographical Explorations of Cunning Resistance in Intimate Abuse and Domestic Violence Narratives Through Feminist Performance-making.” In International Perspectives on Autoethnographic Research and Practice Turner, L., N. P. Short, A. Grant, and T. E. Adams., 145-159 New York: Routledge.

    A plumbers taxes pay for that shit.
    A shearers taxes pay for that crap.
    A deckies taxes pay for that excrement.
    A truckies taxes pay for that onanism.

  34. Hay Stockard

    Universities now use syndicate work for marking. Normally one or two local students carrying the fee paying overseas students. Now, I wonder, why does this happen?

  35. Angus Black

    This is a form of identity politics – the notion that individuals are incapable of abstract and objective thought

    I can recommend you read Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.

    Many of the empirical studies with which the book is liberally sprinkled are terrifying…Afterwards, you’ll doubt the very concept of “objective thought”

  36. Teaching staff are obliged to divert their attention to issues of basic literacy.

    Remedy: Basic literacy must be up to StandardX before this university will accept you into course X.

  37. Angus Black

    The real challenge to our universities, it seems to me, is to show the jobs in Australia which require the holder to have the learning one might expect from a specific university degree. To make sense of education policy, 50% of jobs should, you’d think, rely substantially on the learning obtained at a university.

    But do they?

    Well, there are some jobs which do – certainly – but how many?

    The truth is that, given the exporting of technical jobs overseas, the significant technical support available for the conduct of work, the reduced freedom of action of most job holders, it’s hard to see why jobs which school-educated people were able to do perfectly well 20-30 years ago suddenly require a university education today.

    We could cut university places by 90% (assuming we cut the right 90%) and still have an over educated workforce.

    Go on, show me I’m wrong.

  38. Most uselessness is maths avoidance.

    *Everyone, including the academics must complete a maths minor at a minimum*

    That would be a hoot.

  39. Neil:

    To answer your question empirically; cut labour on costs.

    Anecdotally, cut energy costs.

  40. Neil

    To answer your question empirically; cut labour on costs.

    Anecdotally, cut energy costs.

    There you go. And didn’t need a taxpayer funded grant to solve our manufacturing problem.

    Fact is 99% of research is useless. But they are interesting jobs. Not boring work at all.

  41. Knuckle Dragger

    I’ve never been to university. Sure, through quite a long time in the workforce I’ve accumulated some postgrad and a pile of undergrad shit along the way. Not once, though, have I ever woken up in the morning and thought ‘geez if only I’d gone to Uni.’

    So, and very clearly from a position of no actual experience of university, other than dealing with several thousand cretins with uni credentials (of whom most are semi-literate at best), from the outside it looks very much like a nothing fest. No life skills, no common sense, no education to speak of in any practical facet at all.

    Yes there are probably STEM streams hidden in there somewhere, but geez it looks like a titanic waste of money, administered by people with seven figure salaries.

  42. Some of that was my research, some of it was produced by the Productivity Commission.

    Which does not need to exist.

  43. Roger

    Yes there are probably STEM streams hidden in there somewhere…

    Even STEM faculty are not exempt from the larger lunacy.

  44. Neil

    Some of that was my research, some of it was produced by the Productivity Commission.

    Which does not need to exist.

    While 99% of research is useless humans do like to investigate how the world works. Working out how turtles reproduce on Green Island in the Barrier Reef will not solve cancer but it does add to human knowledge. AS humans we do like to study the Universe and find out how it works.

    Researchers always ask for more money because they are interested in saving their interesting jobs. But research in Australia is more applied than in other countries. That is it has to have an economic benefit like solving cancer. In the USA it is more pure, that it lets just find out how something works

  45. Kae

    I would have some sympathy for this argument – but I have had to explain to Australian students that sentences begin with capital letters and finish with fullstops and there are things called paragraphs. Not to mention that even if marks are not allocated to having a bibliography that essays require a bibliography.

    Exactly. They write as they do on their phones.

    They also have no idea how to write formally, not knowing how to address people in writing, so many issues.

    It’s great to open an email with no body, just an attachment.
    Or an email with no greeting except “Hey”.
    No sentences, just one paragraph running into many lines.
    No signature except their first name (fortunately if they use the system it can tell us who they are from idetifying details like their email).
    Communicating with the uni using a gmail or other generic (could be anyone) account – we aren’t supposed to let them do this.

    There is no hope.

  46. Louis

    I look forward to the universities getting smashed.
    Universities are a State backed business that preys on naive children for power and money!
    Kids in schools are sold the second biggest debt they will ever take on in their lives for an education in delusion and anti-Western hate. Even the STEM fields are riddled with this.
    The sell-out to foreign students (money) and the Communist Chinese Party is exactly what I expect from a bunch of hypocritical Marxists. I also note the rise of administrator-Stasi units within universities.

  47. kae

    we use to write

    Fiction or non-fiction stories?

  48. stackja

    Nib pens, ink wells and blotting paper. Then fountain pens. Then Mr Biro!

  49. Ellie

    Fiction or non-fiction stories?

    Reports for sentencing authorities.

  50. kae

    Mater
    I have assessed Domestic students for entry to Masters programs, and been called upon to decide entry for International students when there has been a not quite high enough GPA, or their undergrad degree has not looked like it was correct for entry (in the field of the Masters program applied for).
    The same rules apply, they must meet the entry standard the same as Domestic students, this is the same for Undergraduate programs, too.

    International students who are not English speaking must be able to converse, write, and read in English Language, they are supposed to have a certain IELTS score, but this has been lowered in some cases.

  51. notafan

    In other words the standards are lowered for non English speaking international students.

  52. notafan

    If universities are a business then let the taxpayer walk away.

    Fully funded by student loans, fees and public or private scholarships.

    Then they might actually operate like businesses not the softly padded playgrounds they are now.

  53. Sinclair Davidson

    Our kids gain a place in Uni based on a score from high school

    The kids who get into uni based on their high school score are the kids who finished high school in the previous year. Maybe the two previous years. Everyone else gets in on some other criterion. Some Australian unis have no cut off scores. Now you might not get into the course of your choice at the uni of your choice, but I do believe that there is a single person in Australia who wants to go to uni being prevented from doing so by public policy or the presence of foreign students.

  54. jupes

    You miss the bigger picture Sinc,

    Chicom students don’t just come here to study. They come with baggage.

    What is the benefit to Australia to have Chicom propaganda centers operating in our universities?

    What is the benefit to Australia for over 1 million Chinese immigrating here? How many of these people are still loyal to the CCP?

  55. Sinclair Davidson

    How many of these people are still loyal to the CCP?

    If Australia cannot demonstrate through lived experience the superiority of an open society over an authoritarian society then we deserve to lose.

    I actually have confidence in our society.

  56. Graham

    Nick, mate, everyone’s English and maths is bad these days. Everyone.

    There you put your finger on one of today’s scandals: the shameful decline of primary and secondary education despite increasing amounts of money being shovelled at it. I suspect it involves a combination of factors including but not limited to the following:
    (1) the teacher unions protecting mediocrity and opposing things that would shine a light on actual performance in schools, and being opposed to individualised performance pay in their employment (think of the anti-NAPLAN campaigning),
    (2) the way teachers are taught at university (education faculties have long lapped up the worst of left wing ideology),
    (3) the fact that too many teachers originate from the second and third rate cohort of graduating secondary students, and their consequent lower level of numeracy and literacy (see the low TER cut-off marks for entry to teaching courses at university),
    (4) the lesser emphasis now placed on English expression and grammar and mathematics during secondary schooling given the myriad of other options on the curriculum,
    (5) the effects of social media addiction by students (e.g. my inability to persuade my teenage daughter to read books).
    Until society sorts out primary and secondary education standards, and does something to restore them, the cohort being admitted to universities is going to include many who do not have the basic level of skills necessary to undertake university education.
    I can’t see any material improvement in primary and secondary education outcomes happening any time soon. The Gonski approach of throwing more cash at the problem will fail no doubt.
    I think it was Kingsley Amis who said, in relation to the proposed expansion of university education in the UK in the 1960s: “more will mean worse”.
    It is difficult to say that this prediction did not turn out to be generally correct in the half century since he made the remark.
    Universities were once perceived as elite institutions for good reason. There were not a lot of them, and entrance standards were relatively high. Courses of study were also limited. Once everything other than TAFE was rebranded as “universities”, and the size and number of universities was expanded dramatically, the rot was inevitably going to set in. This combined with the revolution in the type of people who now “teach” in universities only worsens the problem. The cultural revolution since the 1960s has damaged most parts of society, and universities in particular.
    My view is that the failings of universities probably do not have a lot to do per se with the number of students that they admit from overseas (although their willingness to turn a blind eye to cheating on essays and the failure to enforce English language comprehension as a pre-requisite to entry appals me).
    If Australia has education services which it can “sell” to overseas students, then so be it. I suspect that the services we are selling those people are not up to the mark in too many cases. Perhaps some enterprising law firm will focus on university education as the next ‘class action’ opportunity. That would be entertaining to say the least.
    Sorry for the rant on a public holiday.

  57. Neil

    What is the benefit to Australia for over 1 million Chinese immigrating here? How many of these people are still loyal to the CCP?

    Their motive is all wrong. Most are here for the money. Many foreign students find a way to stay and just swamp the job market. Most research goes nowhere. They are just interesting jobs funded by the taxpayer. But put a pile of money in front of a human and watch them come running.

    Immigration in general has been great for Australia. Most come here to make a contribution. Foreign students come here to get away from their country of birth.

  58. harrys on the boat

    I actually have confidence in our society.

    You had confidence in Turnbull. A shit stain on life let alone Australia.

  59. Mater

    Now you might not get into the course of your choice at the uni of your choice

    Yes, happens all the time. Can we be sure that they are less capable/deserving than the International students who do? Apples and apples, and all that.

    I’m not convinced, when money is involved.

  60. Cynic of Ayr

    Perhaps Sinc does protest too much?
    I think it’s well established that Universities have been taken over by the left, and in some cases, by the Chinese Government.
    The former is proven by the startling number of so-called Professors, who are left wing lunatics, devoid of any rational thought. Examples abound! Peter van Onselen is a prime example. I challenge anyone to prove this fellow can think rationally, yet is is a “Professor.” There are “Professors” barely old enough to shave. All their “Professorship” proves is they have a good memory, not that they can think.
    Commented upon was the group assignment idea. Six people do an assignment. One does it, because he/she wants so succeed. The other five do nothing, because they know the first will do it, or, they fail along with the five.
    The latter by the Chines students protesting against the Hong Kong Protesters, and the so-called Confucius groups.
    There are examples if you want to look for them, of Lecturers being pressured to give degrees to foreign students, simply because they paid for them, not because they earned them.
    When 5% of the population went to University, you could always comfortable assume that a significant proportion came out with a useful education. Now, you can comfortably assume that a significant proportion come out with a useless education.
    I think Sinc is again on a losing one here.
    Can one need to look much further for examples of jumped, mindless arse covering stupidity than James Cook versus Peter Ridd?
    Like the man said, “Miss, I don’t care how many years you studied Feminine Gender Idiosyncrasies in the Egyptian Alps, or how many degrees you have, I told you, I did not want sauce on my Fries!”
    Also, remember that some one in the Bridge Building Class came last.

  61. Boambee John

    Doomlord

    I actually have confidence in our society.

    However, I have no confidence that our society can protect foreign students whose families remain in countries where the Stasi would be considered to be wimps. Even if foreign students like life here, the pressure able to be placed on them means that most will do what the homeland bids.

    And having Confucious Institutes here, able to exert immediate pressure on students, is a massive error.

    Yet some universities that accept such Institutes rejected a body devoted to the study of Western Civilisation!

  62. Helen

    I dont see why tax payers should pay anything for university educations. Full fee paying or scholarship only.

  63. jupes

    If Australia cannot demonstrate through lived experience the superiority of an open society over an authoritarian society then we deserve to lose.

    If that were true, there would be no CCP supporting Chinese in Australia but there are. They have been exposed during the Hong Kong demonstrations and during the early days of the bat-flu lockdown.

    Your belief that living in Australia’s free (cough) society will turn Chicoms and M*sl*ms into patriotic citizens is naive at best. Immigration from those two demographics makes Australia much less free and safe.

  64. Helen

    I’ve never been to university. Sure, through quite a long time in the workforce I’ve accumulated some postgrad and a pile of undergrad shit along the way. Not once, though, have I ever woken up in the morning and thought ‘geez if only I’d gone to Uni.’

    You have paid for uni, though, Knuckle Dragger. Through your taxes.

  65. Roger W

    If anyone who wants to go to university is able to go, don’t we have a problem? Clearly, universities are no longer institutions of excellence.
    Should we change the names of all the current Australian universities to Walt Disney 1, Walt Disney 2 etc?
    Then change BA, BSc etc to BMM??(Bachelor of Mickey Mouse).

  66. Damon

    After the supine cowardice of our population in the face of the authoritarian inclinations of our ‘ruling class’, I’m confident the Chinese will feel completely at home.

  67. kae

    Too many go to university for the wrong reasons, least of all academic ability.

    Pressure from parents.
    Peer pressure.

    Attrition is a big problem, but I suspect that many students try uni and just can’t do it. They’d be better off doing a trade.

    Anyone here know anyone these days who has managed to crack it into a trade?

  68. John A

    Graham #3478625, posted on June 8, 2020, at 3:22 pm

    Nick, mate, everyone’s English and maths is bad these days. Everyone.

    There you put your finger on one of today’s scandals: the shameful decline of primary and secondary education despite increasing amounts of money being shovelled at it.
    … [Excellent summary of causes snipped for brevity only]

    Until society sorts out primary and secondary education standards and does something to restore them, the cohort being admitted to universities is going to include many who do not have the basic level of skills necessary to undertake university education.

    Indeed, all one needs to do is visit a “pioneer town” historical site (some day when these stupid restrictions have been removed).

    If you examine the school with examples of lessons laid out, you will most likely find student exercises of years 6, 7 and 8 that would challenge university students, maybe even their professors.

    I have seen questions about shipping, insurance, agriculture and economics which Steve and Sinc would relish and would likely want to set in exams for their present students (since they were crafted before the cancer of Keynesianism took hold of the body politic).

  69. Helen

    Anyone here know anyone these days who has managed to crack it into a trade?

    Yep, my nephew. Sparkie. So proud of him. He went in year ten as work placement and was offered an apprenticeship form there. He stuck at it and even during the downturns when all the other apprentices were laid off, he kept his job, because he was always working, sweeping the shed, cleaning the vehicles, anything. Thus the boss never saw him sitting about and asked himself, why am I paying that kid to sit around?

    Well that was my advice and he kept his job .. lols

  70. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    anti-university sentiment

    If you don’t hate universities with every fibre of your being, you’re not a true ozzie. 👺

  71. Tel

    Chicom students don’t just come here to study. They come with baggage.

    The famous saying is, “We wanted workers…but we got people instead.” Everything in an economics equation is pure and clean, everything in the real world comes with consequences, especially when people are involved with religion, culture, attitudes, prejudices, etc.

    There isn’t much you can do to avoid this … although you can somewhat discount those economic arguments that conveniently ignore all the complexity.

    As for the difficult question of loyalty … well recently I have been fed so much “all in this together” bullshit by people who so obviously take every advantage to make political mileage out of a crisis … I would be a lot more interested in national loyalty if I had leadership that seemed a tiny bit sincere. Who would want to die for ScoMo, or for Peanut Head? Who feels confident after multiple rounds of submarine procurement debacle? After the way the COVID mini-crisis was handled, how do you think the same people would handle a real danger?

  72. Squirrel

    In addition to the funding already guaranteed, the federal government will probably provide some sort of bail-out/restructuring deal for the universities – aside from anything else, there will surely be regional unis in marginal LNP seats which will need to be looked after.

    In the meantime, I assume they (the government) will be happy to let the unis sweat a bit, and maybe see what the State/Territory governments might do to help some of the strugglers.

  73. Damon

    The main problem for the Libs in restructuring the universities is that they know the staff and students would never vote for them.

  74. Roger W

    A government bailout is needed – otherwise who will pay the vice-chancellors their $1m salaries?

  75. Neil

    A government bailout is needed – otherwise who will pay the vice-chancellors their $1m salaries?

    I think nobody in the Public Service should earn more than the Prime Minister. That includes semi-govt organisations like Universities. Same goes for the head of the Post Office. If he/she doesn’t like $500k/year plus 15.4% Super they can go somewhere else

  76. Boambee John

    Neil

    I think nobody in the Public Service should earn more than the Prime Minister.

    I don’t think any of them do, but lots get paid more.

  77. Boris

    I work at a university

    1. Less lefties in the population – how? I never ever talk politics with my students, directly or indirectly. I think this would be unprofessional.
    2 More concern from professors about teaching and less about activism – I do zero activism. Less activism would mean negative activism. Not sure what it is.
    3 More tradies in the populace – perhaps
    4 Less unemployed graduates in the populace – all my graduates are employed
    5 Less bullshit courses in the Humanities – n/a

    Where critics have a point is that indeed a lot of overseas students are here not to get education but to get to stay in this country. And this is wrong. I have nothing against controlled skilled immigration but not one thing pretending to be another.

  78. Neil

    Where critics have a point is that indeed a lot of overseas students are here not to get education but to get to stay in this country. And this is wrong

    There are 600,000 foreign students in Australia. If only 5% work out a way to stay that is an extra 30,000 people after University educated jobs.

    BTW most of the asylum seekers who fly in are foreign students. University education for foreign students is a rort to get permanent residency. I worked with one of these students who had overstayed his visa living illegally in the country and then got permanent residency. He is now a University lecturer. They should be home looking after their parents rather than come here because it is a nicer country to live in.

  79. a reader

    Boris
    #3479229, posted on June 9, 2020 at 12:39 am

    This although I will add that I do sometimes talk politics with students but only in that they enjoy hearing me rant about the great idiocies of this world-and not when we’re in class.

    I have no problem with the international students if:
    -They genuinely score high on the IELTS
    -The government prevents it being a ponzi scheme for immigration which it too often is. The UK has had millions of foreign students for centuries but for the most part they don’t let them stay forever. Why shouldn’t we?

  80. STEM is easy to avoid politics.

    Economics not so much Boris.

  81. Cumborah Kid

    Some have commented on poor education outcomes and have blamed the schools and the teachers. Having a wife who has recently gained her teaching qualifications I would make the following additional comments. When the reforms went through the education system over the past 20 years or so trying to improve the standards of teaching, the outcome made the business of implanting knowledge in kids heads far worse in my opinion. When a teacher graduates these days, they are expected to start at ground zero and to develop all their own teaching plans for each subject they will teach for the year. This is in their first year, usually as a part time teacher. They are part time because very very nealy graduated teachers get a full time job first up. This workload (which is herculean), coupled with the unenviable job of dealing with 30 kids that have learned poor life skills from their parents, causes 50% of young teachers to quit.
    Would it not be better, if the aim was to impart knowledge to the kids to have an agreed set of teaching materials, and lesson plans that all teachers use as a basis of their lessons, so that newly graduated teachers have time to hone and refine their teaching skills? You would not get a graduate engineer to manage the design and construction of a bridge, so why chuck graduate teachers in at the deep end and expect them to survive?

  82. Kid

    I thought the old curriculum was less prescriptive?

    Having to make a note of each section of a lesson plan is stupid. It works if you are teaching robots. It certainly does not help children discovering new knowledge.

  83. Eyrie

    “Anyone here know anyone these days who has managed to crack it into a trade?”

    A friend’s son. Got an apprenticeship with Ergon. Father is university trained mechanical engineer. Boy could have gone to uni like one of his sisters and done engineering. Too many engineers to compete with to get a job on graduation though. After 4 years apprenticeship kid will be at least $200,000 ahead of going to uni..

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